Please sign in to post.

Where to leave Rental Car close to London?

We're renting a car in Edinburgh, touring around and ending up in London for a week. Thought it best to get rid of the car first! We don't have reservations in London yet. Would love recommendations for a B & B, last time we stayed in Bayswater and went everywhere underground, so we don't have a good idea where to stay. I feel like we missed the neighborhoods by being in a tunnel the whole time!

Posted by
2664 posts

St. Albans would be a good place to drop off car, then you can take the train into London.

Posted by
8889 posts

St. Albans is a good town to spend a few hours. There is the abbey church, and Verulamium Roman town (just the foundations left). Note the main station is a good 15 minute walk east of the town centre.

Another "drop off and spend half a day" option is Cambridge. Plenty of trains to London.

Posted by
6460 posts

The Bayswater neighborhood is one of my favorites to stay in because public transport is so convenient with two tube stops and great bus routes along Bayswater and Westbourne roads. Its close to Paddington station and an easy stroll into and through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Same for enjoying the nearby Portobello Road Market and the adjacent Holland Park and Nottinghill Neighborhoods. Are you looking for another neighborhood option? What month are you traveling? What are you looking to see and do on this visit? Happy to suggest places to stay but a little unclear what you seek as far as a neighborhood?

Posted by
533 posts

I'm not sure what level of service you're looking for in a B&B, but I recently stayed in the Fruit Guest House and liked it a lot:

https://www.bedandbreakfast.eu/bed-and-breakfast/london/fruit-guest-house/1110953/

It's a pretty basic place and not luxurious by any means, but the location (very close to the Royal Oak tube station) and price (around $70 US for a double for the nights we stayed, although that was in February and they seem to be raising their rates for the summer) are both excellent.

Posted by
3707 posts

We have used Luton Airport for this, lots of rental company options. You will have to shuttle to the airport then shuttle again to the train station, 2 pounds. Or take the free car rental shuttle to the roundabout and walk to the station, about 20 minutes.

St. Albans is actually a poor choice because of the distances between all the rental companies and the station.

Stevenage works also for a couple companies (Avis and Europcar, farther) with a pretty short walk to the station, less than 10 minutes.

Posted by
8293 posts

I am wondering about High Barnet. It is at the end of the Northern Line tube, is a fairly large place, and will certainly be on the way from Scotland. The ride on the Underground to central London is about an hour.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you for all the choices, I guess I should clarify we are going to stay west, from Skye down into Wales (husband's origins) then over to south west, Devon & Cornwall. We don't have anything booked yet, including flight home.. Bayswater was great, but I had hoped for advice on a B &B further east because it seemed like we were far away from everything. We didn't walk the streets much, saw Westminster, Tower, Churchill war rooms..everything in Greenwich. not looking for a fancy B & B, but not a hostel! We've been advised not to do the bus because traffic's so bad. Does the above-ground train go into downtown? Sorry to be so hopeless this is overwhelming even tho we've been there!

Posted by
8889 posts

Tom, "Does the above-ground train go into downtown?" - Train from where? you don't say.
Trains from anywhere (commuter, overground, Inter-City) terminate at large stations on the edge of central London, in most cases on the circle underground. You then get the tube to your final destination.
London doesn't have a "downtown". Nowhere in England does, it is not an English word. London has two centres because it was once two separate cities, like New York and Washington.

  • "The city", the business district on the site of the old medieval city. With St Pauls, the tower etc.
  • "Westminster", the government district, with the House of Parliament, Whitehall, No. 10, Buck House etc.

The area in between is the "West end" (west of the city), this includes Bayswater, Soho etc.

Posted by
3707 posts

Although the northern locations like Luton and Stevenage don't work so well as a drop off point coming from the west, the rail here, Thameslink, does indeed go all the way thru "downtown" and out the other side. You could pick up Thameslink at Gatwick Airport which could be approached more reasonably from the west. Other above ground trains currently terminate as stated above at peripheral train stations usually requiring another mode of transit (cab, tube) to complete the journey to your hotel. Probably most logical is to leave the car at Heathrow, although it makes sense to be clever and choose a car drop off point that works well for your lodging. Most tourists choose lodging and transportation independently then get stuck with an expensive cab fare or arduous tube connection to connect the two.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you everybody for your thoughtful answers. I'm liking the idea of Cambridge, but now at least I have a list! Obviously I should have booked rooms a long time ago!

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you everybody for your thoughtful answers. I'm liking the idea of Cambridge, but now at least I have a list! Obviously I should have booked rooms a long time ago!

Posted by
3707 posts

Looks like (from Google, never been there) that Hertz and National and maybe Avis would work for dropping off at the Cambridge station. You really should book rental cars at least 10 months in advance for best pricing, which gradually doubles as the date approaches. I assume you know how to use online coupons, and codes for any group rate you can get?